Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Fernandez explains why Obama making speeches about red lines in Syria or Ukraine is a bad thing:
“During the height of the Cold War it was believed that having to emphasize the obvious represented a failure of policy. Deterrence had to be self-evident; a daily thing. You didn’t go on the air to issue bloodcurdling warnings. You didn’t have to because stability was there, part of the normal like the air or the earth. The Russian president only had to look at the his daily briefing to know that the USAF was flying and hence that the day could begin as peacefully as the previous one. . . . When an American president has to issue veiled warnings to Vladimir Putin — say something that Putin should know as second nature — then something terrible has happened. Some upset has occurred. A thing that was previously there to keep the floor level has gone missing. Why else should President Obama have to make a pointless observation on TV to communicate something that Putin should know from the moment he puts on his socks in the morning?”
Obviously, the thing that has gone missing is backbone. Putin knows Americans lack the will to fight a war for Ukraine and that Obama’s threats are meaningless bluster. That’s a destabilizing change in the geo-political world, it invites behaviors previously kept locked down. China gets wind of this and realizes the implications, Obama’s Pivot To The Far East might be in jeopardy.
One of the most important things Reagan did to face off the Soviets (via their Polish communist puppets) in 1981 was not to warn anyone about anything; it was to invite an asylum-seeking ambassador to the White House. It showed resolve – Reagan poked a finger in the commies’ eye, both nuanced and very, very in the eye.
That was a shot across the bow.